About Richard Lawrence

Richard is partner at Agile For All and an agile trainer and coach. He helps teams and organizations become happier and more productive. When Richard's not working with teams, he's usually on his mountain bike with his wife and three boys.

MHA 2014 Session Notes: Models for Support

For those who attended my Mile High Agile 2014 session, Models for Support, here are the photos of the flip charts (with a little explanatory text around them):

MHA14 Models for Support Thumbnail

Were you there? Share your biggest takeaways from the session in the comments.

Taking Agile Beyond Software

Two years ago, when Bob and I merged our companies into today’s Agile For All, we wrote out a vision statement for the company that began, “For software organizations and the people who work with them…” We knew how to help software organizations become successful. Since we teach our clients to focus on a well-defined target customer, it was logical for us to focus on software development.

As is often the case, though, serving one target market well often leads to the actual market growing well beyond that target. As we focused on helping software teams succeed, other parts of their organizations noticed…and they wanted the same results. Our work thus naturally expanded beyond software development (thereby growing into our name).

Now that we’ve worked with a handful of non-software organizations, from sales and marketing to education, we’re seeing the patterns that make an agile approach work outside of software, and we’re experiencing a wave of interest from a variety of companies, so we’re taking what we’ve learned public. This March, we’re offering a public “Intro to Agile Beyond Software” class in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the home of one of our most successful “agile beyond software” clients, Geonetric. You can read more about the class and get signed up on the Eventbrite registration page. Discounted early bird registration ends February 5th.

The Agile For All Christmas Party & Four Charities We’re Fired Up About This Christmas

In November, we asked our wives, Dawn Lawrence and Carol Hartman (whom many of you met at the conference), to plan a unique company Christmas party and surprise us with it. They delivered! We were suprised and pleased with yesterday’s party.

Dawn and Carol asked for a larger budget than we expected. We couldn’t figure out what they were going to do with it. Maybe a fancy meal or outing. Then, they started making food for the party, and we were really puzzled. [Read more...]

3 Ways to Handle End-of-the-Year Holidays on Your Agile Team

The period from mid-December to early-January can be disruptive for an agile team. You’re used to working on a regular cadence, maybe in 2-week iterations. Suddenly, there’s an avalanche of company holidays and vacation time that throws off your velocity and cadence. Here are 3 ways you can make the end of the year a useful and productive time rather than a few weeks of frustration and waste. [Read more...]

Humanizing Work 2013 Conference Recap

Humanizing Work 2013 Conference LogoLast month’s Humanizing Work Conference was organized around one big hypothesis: that it was possible to do to a conference what we’d done to our classes—to take all the standard features and replace them with more interactive, brain-friendly ones. Well, it worked…beyond our expectations. [Read more...]

Focusing on the Right Things in Your Daily Scrum

“Yesterday, I was in Sprint Planning…” I hear it once, and I’m suspicious. By the time the third team member says this, it’s clear the Daily Scrum I’m observing is broken. Everyone in the room knows we did planning yesterday—we were all there. It’s not valuable content to help the team plan its day.

Too many Daily Scrums are a waste of time. It’s not always this blatant, but if everyone knows what they’re going to say in advance of the meeting and nothing changes as a result of the meeting, that team is probably missing the point.

So, what is the point? [Read more...]

Agile Homeschool

Homeschool Standup MeetingMy wife and I have been homeschooling our 3 boys since our oldest, who turns 13 tomorrow, started kindergarten. From the beginning, we’ve tried to apply the Agile, Lean, and accelerated learning principles I use in my work. After 8 years of experimentation, we’ve settled on a system that works really well for our family.

This post isn’t about why we homeschool, what curricula we use, etc. Rather, I’d like to give a glimpse into how we apply some of the principles and practices I use and teach in my classes to a non-software context. [Read more...]

Change Happens—So Make it Cheaper

Change on software projects is expensive; it leads to wasteful rework.

Change is risk. We can deal with risk one of two ways. We can reduce the likelihood of the negative event occurring. Or we can reduce the impact of the negative event when it does occur. (Of course, the two can often be combined.)

The traditional approach says, “Let’s put more effort and thought in up-front and avoid that expensive change.” (That is, let’s prevent the negative event from occurring.) The problem, as decades of experience have shown, is we still can’t seem to avoid change. Here’s why: the kinds of change that plague software development can’t be eliminated by thinking harder up front. [Read more...]

Splitting Stories in Spanish (or, Como Dividir una Historia de Usuario)

Thanks to Joserra Díaz for the translation (with feedback from Matin Alaimo and Alan Cyment). [Read more...]

Story Splitting in Russian (or, Как Разделять Истории Пользователей)

Thanks to Alexander Lutsaevsky for the translation. [Read more...]